Units of Beer

This topic came up in an AllSet Learning client’s lessons recently, and I’m certainly a proponent of 啤酒 education, so I thought I’d share this useful info on Sinosplice:

Units of Beer

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– 1 drop = 一滴
– 1 glass/cup = 一杯
– 1 can = 一听
– 1 bottle = 一瓶
– 1 6-pack = 半打
– 1 12-pack = 一打 (same as “a dozen”)
– 1 case = 一箱 (quantity may vary)
– 1 keg = 一桶

Tone Notes:

1. Remember that for all uses of above, the tone change rule changes “yī” (1st tone) to “yì” (4th tone).
2. 打 is normally read “dǎ,” but when it means “dozen,” it’s read “dá.”


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. I love this idea!

    Is 罐 not in common use?

  2. As a product of the 啤酒 educations system, I fully support this post.
    About 罐 – interestingly, in Taiwan you’ll occasionally here/see it used to refer to bottles as well as cans. I’m almost certain I only ever heard it used for cans in China -and geographically more predominately in the South.

  3. I have a question. I notice that 评 can be bottle or pitcher. I feel that differentiating these two units is essential to 啤酒 education. Please help. Also, how do I say “growler”?

  4. I’ve heard 罐 used for can up here in Beijing, although by older people not with city-Beijing accents. My beer guy says 罐, but I don’t know where he’s from except that his accent is from somewhere else. I believe I’ve also heard it used by older people out in my wife’s village (northwest extremities of Beijing Municipality). Still, I hear 听 far more often.

    I notice 扎 is missing, as in 扎啤. It’s a bit vague on quantity, referring to anything that comes out a tap (usually from a keg, though occasionally something a bit more vat-size), from pint/handle/half litre to jug/pitcher. But still, I think it a necessary part of the 啤酒教育。

  5. guan 罐 is the word for ‘can’ preferred in Taiwan.

    Also a six pack is 一手 (a hand) in Taiwan. And twelve packs are not very common, so 箱 is probably the very next measure.

  6. In Qinghai, beer is sold in packs of nine bottles, called “一扎啤酒” (not to be confused with “扎啤”, or draught beer, as @Chris mentioned).

  7. “罐” is probably a measure word that is favoured in the south, not only in Taiwan. At least we use it here in Guangdong regularly; 听, on the other hand, is quite rare. People should understand you if you use it down here in the south, but you seldom hear it.

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